March 25, 2008 Holocaust Historian to Discuss Fate of Croatian Jewry

Press Contact: Audrey Fischer (202) 707-0022
Public Contact: Peggy Pearlstein (202) 707-3779

More than 60 years after World War II, new scholarship is still emerging on the fate of Jews in Europe. In 2002, Esther Gitman, a Croatian-born Holocaust survivor and historian, returned to her birthplace to study the rescue of 169 Jewish physicians and their families (650 people) by the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) from 1941-1945. She will discuss her research at noon on Tuesday, April 8, in the African and Middle Eastern Division Conference Room (LJ-220) located on the second floor of the Thomas Jefferson building, 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C. Sponsored by the Hebraic Section of the Library’s African and Middle Eastern Division, the program is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required. Gitman earned a doctorate in Jewish history from the City University of New York, a master of public service degree in criminal justice from Long Island University and a bachelor’s degree in history and sociology from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. As a Barbara and Richard Rosenberg Fellow in the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., Gitman spent the academic year 2006-2007 studying the rescue of more than 9,500 Jews in Croatia during World War II by NDH officials, clergy and nuns, the Italian 2nd army, humanitarian groups, Croatian partisans and the local population. Prior to that appointment, Gitman returned to her native Croatia on a Fulbright scholarship to research her dissertation on “The Rescue and Survival of Jews in the Independent State of Croatia (NDH), 1941-1945.” Using her unique language skills in Serbo-Croatian, Hebrew, Italian and Ladino, she examined primary documents and conducted interviews with Holocaust survivors and rescuers to produce one of the first major studies in English on the fate of Croatian Jewry. The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution, is the world’s preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled integrated resources to Congress and the American people. Founded in 1800, the Library seeks to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, which bring to bear the world’s knowledge in almost all of the world’s languages. The African and Middle Eastern Division furthers this mission as the Library’s center for the study of some 78 countries and regions from Southern Africa to the Maghreb and from the Middle East to Central Asia. The division’s Hebraic Section is one of the world's foremost centers for the study of Hebrew and Yiddish materials. For more information on the division and it holdings, visit


PR 08-060
ISSN 0731-3527